U.K.’s First Pop-Up Solar Charging Station Generated 20,000 Miles Of Electricity In Eight Weeks

Since 3ti installed its first pop-up EV charging station in May, the solar-powered unit, known as the Papilio3, has generated enough electricity for 20,000 miles (32,187 km) of EV driving distance.

“Solar is an abundant source of renewable energy – yield from our first Papilio3 unit at Surrey Research Park has already topped 4.86 MWh, and all 12 charging points have been in regular use,” says Tim Evans, 3ti founder and CEO. “The most recent International Energy Agency statistics show that, thanks to higher solar and wind power generation, renewable electricity production is up by 9.8% year-on-year across all Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but there is still plenty of room for further improvement.”

Things are looking up for the pop-up “solar car park,” as 3ti terms it. The company says that the charging location generated 2.36 MWh of electricity in June alone and that it is on track to top that in July, helped by the heatwave that recently hit Europe. While that kind of weather is unusual, it’s set to become more common as the climate crisis rages on. By using renewable energy like these solar chargers, though, drivers could help reduce the environmental impact of their EVs.

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The construction of the units is also intended to be as green as possible. Built around a recycled shipping container, the Papilio3 can be deployed in 24 hours and features up to 250 kWh of battery capacity, to help EVs charge even when the sun isn’t shining.

“It will also help to deliver on renewable energy targets and reduce the carbon intensity of EV charging, especially during peak hours where the grid relies on a carbon-rich safety net,” said Evans. “In June, for example, just one of our customer sites produced 290 MWh from a 2.2 MWp solar array. At current prices that’s over £65,000 ($78,312 USD at current exchange rates) worth of electricity.”

The company is currently in its first crowdfunding round, which closes on July 31. The round opened on June 23 and exceeded its initial target of £500,000 ($602,480 USD) within just one hour of going live. 3ti also creates more permanent solar car parks for companies like Bentley and JPMorgan Chase. It has installed 9.57 MW of solar panels around the U.K. already.

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